The 7 Best Affordable Cocktail Joints in the Bay Area
A martini, and change back for your trouble
We keep hearing about the latest $20 cocktail as if that’s some sort of accomplishment.
The real magic is happening at the other end of the price spectrum. Seven-dollar Manhattan, anyone?
For those drinks, consider this your cocktail bucket-list, with not a single option over $11, and fully half of them under 10 bucks.
The Chronicle called the Hotsy Totsy — aka the oldest bar in Albany, est. 1939 — a “Bay Area favorite” just a few weeks ago, and we can only hope the praise won’t go to its wonderfully humble head. Order: the $10 Paloma Rosa.
601 San Pablo Ave., Albany
Happy hour here is literally only an hour (5-6 p.m., Monday through Saturday), but it’s worth penciling that in for the dollar oysters and a rotating $7(!) cocktail.
355 11th Street
Do you enjoy a powerful rum punch — maybe outside of a tiki environment? Come to Fauna (sister establishment to next-door Flora) for the $8 concoction. Other cocktails top out at $11.
1900 Telegraph Ave., Oakland
Maybe you’re here for one of the Starline’s DJ nights or other events — so maybe duck out of work early enough to get here for the $8 martinis during the two-hour happy hour. The regular, slightly more labor intensive cocktails reach a comfortable $12.
2236 Martin Luther King Jr Way, Oakland
On a quieter (read: less frat-centric) night, the $11 Brit & Kel is a steal, with California green chile vodka, lime, simple syrup and red pepper oil.
1695 Polk Street
Al the cocktails here are a budget-friendly $10, including the bartender’s choice Cocktail of the Week. For our money? The Czech Mule, with Becherovka, ginger beer and fresh lime.
1423 Polk Street
Seven bucks? That’s as cheap as you’re gonna find for a cocktail mixed by a professional, rather than swirled in a cup above your sink. Take your pick of a Manhattan or Joan Collins, with vodka, lemon, raspberry and soda.
6702 Hollis St., Emeryville